Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's a Piece of Cake

At 1:00 on Easter Sunday afternoon, I poured myself a glass of wine, and sat down on the front porch to enjoy the warmth of the sun. That feels so good after a cold winter.  Things were under control:  Our nephews, ages 6 and 4, were watching the movies the Easter Bunny brought them. Their baby brother was fed and fast asleep.  Their parents had been gone for two hours already, off for wine tasting and an overnight stay at the Belhurst. A long overdue, and well-deserved break without the kids. Piece of cake, I thought, the next 24 hours will be a piece of cake. 

As an extended family, we have kept busy since they arrived on Friday afternoon. We had make-your-own-pizza night, and ate the hot and gooey creations outside on the porch. We hoofed over to the dairy farm next door, pet the draft horses, and let the baby calves suck on our fingers. We played with kittens. Lots of kittens. We collected duck eggs from a barn, ate a picnic lunch and went to the Children's museum. This morning we flew kites (boy, that Easter Bunny was right on!) under perfect conditions in the field across the road. And all of these activities were interspersed with bike riding and playing in the dirt, and with a little brotherly wrestling thrown in.  The baby, who is 8 months old, watched and laughed, cried, drooled, and chewed on anything you put in his little hands, including a plastic tablespoon. That was his favorite diversion of the weekend.

At some point, however, the calm ceased and we were quickly outnumbered. Discipline and restraint went out the window.  We had no choice but to put everyone in dad's Big Suburban and go for a ride to the playground. But these kids just don't wear out.  On the way home, hovering just above the radio and the road noise were their chants, in stereo,  of "I want ice-cream." The answer of "after dinner" was getting me nowhere.  I had to outsmart them. I had to restore order and authority. Then it came to me. We pulled in the driveway, and I promised a surprise if they went right in and sat down.  "Today," I announced, "we are having dessert BEFORE dinner."  I think I saw, between their cheers of joy and chocolate-covered faces, one little spark of surprise, or was it a quick assessment of the trouble they would be in if their parents knew? Kevin pulled out the largest soup bowls we had, and offered not only chocolate ice-cream, but pudding and crumbled oreos as toppings. To our surprise, not only did they finish their ice-cream, but both boys ate all of their rigatoni, 2 helpings each mind you, without any challenge at all. We did it.

Not having children ourselves, I always wonder how parents get through it. But with a few fleeting moments of self-confidence and by thinking on our feet, we managed. And we had fun. The boys had another memorable weekend at Aunt Michele's and Uncle Sonny's house in the country. Loving these 3 little guys, watching them grow and discover the world.  That is a piece of cake. Chocolate cake, with whipped cream, and cherry on top.

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